Monday, December 1, 2014


31 Dec., Wed:  The girls enjoyed the Spa; Roxanne took a taxi to Fairhope to shop; Ron and Cynthia walked along the board walk beside the bay enjoying all of the lovely vacation homes in families for generations.  We had a tour of the village of Fairhope, AL (one of the top ten best retirement spots) enjoying the community's famous Christmas lights.  Another outstanding dinner set the course for an awesome New Year celebration.  Plans changed because of rain - four days to get to the lake house with two days of rain scheduled!  Happy New Year!!!

30 Dec, Tues. Daphne, AL;  departure imminent for Point Clear, AL where Cynthia's daughter Roxanne will be joining us for the New Year Celebration.  And we arrived in Point Clear about 1:39 PM in time for lunch.  Roxanne arrived just in the nick of time for food before the restaurant closed at two.  Oh what fun!  Oh what a huge lunch.  We talked the afternoon away followed by a marvelous dinner in the Grand Hotel's Steakhouse.

29 Dec, The trip from Greenville, AL to Daphne, AL on I-65 was dry and pleasant.  After checking in to the Hilton Garden Inn a month early (it was an ACCIDENT) we ate a fine lunch at the Pro Bass Shop and toured the USS Alabama, the USS Drum and the Air Museum.  The tours were so enjoyable we only regret we did not have an entire day for exploration. Pictures will follow once Cynthia posts them.

28 Dec.  The forecast of rain kept us in Greenville until Monday.  Unable to eat the breakfast buffets without a chef we walked to Shoney's only to learn they are like Cracker Barrel, Denny's and most fast food chains and told the manager we would not be back.  It took three napkins to mop the oil from the omelets.  Evidently the vegetables were cooked in or on an oily grill.  The manager did not charge us.  Ruby Tuesday's fed us a very good lunch and dinner.  Wal-Mart's Raspberry Sorbet is dessert.

Quote of the Day: So Caught Up 
WHETHER HE WAS born in 4 B.C. or A.D. 6, in Bethlehem or Nazareth, whether there were multitudes of the heavenly host to hymn the glory of it or just Mary and her husband—when the child was born, the whole course of human history was changed. That is a truth as unassailable as any truth. Art, music, literature, Western culture itself with all its institutions and Western man's whole understanding of himself and his world—it is impossible to conceive how differently things would have turned out if that birth had not happened whenever, wherever, however it did. And there is a truth beyond that: for millions of people who have lived since, the birth of Jesus made possible not just a new way of understanding life but a new way of living it.
For better or worse, it is a truth that, for twenty centuries, there have been untold numbers of men and women who, in untold numbers of ways, have been so grasped by the child who was born, so caught up in the message he taught and the life he lived, that they have found themselves profoundly changed by their relationship with him . And they have gone on proclaiming, as the writers of the Gospels proclaimed before them, that through the birth of Jesus a life-giving power was released into the world which to their minds could have been no less than the power of God himself. This is the central truth that Matthew and Luke are trying to convey in their accounts of the Nativity. And it was a truth which no language or legend seemed too extravagant to convey. What the birth meant—meant to them, to the world—was the truth that mattered to them most and, when all is said and done, perhaps the only truth that matters to anyone.
-Originally published in The Faces of Jesus

27 Dec.  Departure imminent for Greenville, AL.  Quote of the day from Einstein:  "If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not people or objects."  Quote from Smooch Smooch, "Until you are happy all alone on a flat rock, you are not ready for relationship."

Quote from  Thich Nhat Hanh
"Whether this moment is happy or not depends on you. It's you that makes the moment happy. It's not the moment that makes you happy.  With mindfulness, concentration and insight, any moment can become a happy moment. Happiness is an art."

We arrived in Greenville under the hotel canopy just as the Vault of Heaven leaked.  My goal for next week is to correct all grammatical errors on this month's blog during the frantic rush to write lest it be forgotten.

26 Dec, Fri:  The Smooches enjoyed a Marvelous Merry Christmas at Biltmore. Ron had a delightful time hiding Christmas cards espedially as a very surprised Cynthia squealed upon each discovery.  Too much over fed... healthy, no fat food, we accidentally embarked on a last tour of the estate by taking a wrong turn. Oh, happy accident.  In Geenville, SC we filled with gas that gave us a huge start, sputter and finally stop a mile or two down the road.  Thankfully we were across the road from a Yamaha Motorcycle Shop.  Thankfully a fellow with a trailer happened to be bringing his 14 year old son's bike to the shop for a new key, and thankfully he offered to load our bike and transport it to the shop where the service manager drained the gas, which was diesel.  After refilling with gas, the bike started and thankfully we were on our way.  No, Ron had NOT accidentally filled the tank with diesel but the Premium tank at the station was empty and diesel was draining into the Premium. This calls for a letter to the state of SC fuel control.  Off we were indeed, arriving in Peachtree City, GA at a nice Hilton Garden Inn.

25 Dec. Thurs:  We (in the mirror over the fireplace) wish you, our friends and family, a Merry Christmas!  May the peace of Christ reign in our hearts and through every land.

24  Dec, Wed: Freaking out at our weight on the bathroom scale, we asked for a replacement and immediately lost 8 pounds.  The staff is the epitome of hospitality.  Everyone is so very pleasant.   We had the best of plans to walk to the Biltmore house (4 miles) but the mist felt ominous.  A shuttle appeared at a Kairos moment and we hopped aboard.  The driver was congenial and knowledgeable offering many unknown facts about the house and its owners: Mrs. Edith Vanderbilt drove a 2 seated Harley around the thousands of acres with Cornelia seated behind her as they delivered gifts to every newborn among the staffs family.  The Harley is in the basement of the Biltmore for evidence.  We toured the house to see the ca. 1900 era Christmas decorations, beautifully crafted, with displays in every room.  Since we have taken all of the tours available during other visits here, we opted not to take a guided tour today.  Light rain was evident when we exited the house so a shuttle back was another good idea.  We were let off in Antler Village to shop and walk back to the Inn, racking up a couple of miles.  Christmas Eve dinner was specially prepared with no fat for us.   O Holy Night!
Ron and his dinner date, Miss Smoochie

Christmas Eve Dinner

Christmas Eve 2014
23 Dec, Tues, Mist turning to snow followed us for about twenty minutes; mist continued  for awhile as we approached Asheville, but thank the Good Lord, we arrived at the Biltmore dry having enjoyed lovely vistas on every side.  The afternoon was surprisingly dry allowing us to take a four mile walk in the afternoon.  The lunch in the library was $70.00!  We opted for Dinner at the Bistro which was the same price for a large meal.  It was excellent.  Cynthia lost her knit cap which was turned into lost and found;  JOY in Asheville tonight.

20 Dec-22 Dec.  Greenville, SC.  The Hughes Library is an excellent repository of NC and SC records.

19 Dec, Fri: Another good walk with Dick, bags are nearly packed for departure to Greenville, SC to research their fine record collection at the Hughes Library. Thanks to Dan and Christine for the photo taken when we visited their home a few weeks ago.  Dan and his M-i-Law are in the background looking like they are ready to jump on the bike with us.
Traveling Towards Texas

18 Dec, Thurs: Triple the work.  Ron did not finish the clopping and lipping until 8:PM - totally worn out.

17 Dec, Wed: Ron Worked and Worked and Worked clipping and lopping at the Gowdy's; Elizabeth drove him to the dump the dump the dump... with bags of recycling and clippings; pine mulch went to Mary Lou's who so appreciated having her "wild man" come visit.  Her vision and hearing are failing but she is learning to cope with the downside of living a long life.   We had dinner with Clark, Elizabeth and Dick at Ruby Tuesday's.

16 Dec,  Tues:  The Smooches saga of life in the fast lane continues:  we are walking about 7-8 miles a day, eating at Ruby Tuesday's, writing, editing, besides lopping and clipping the trees in the Gowdys yard.  Christmas gifts ordered...  !  No doubt we did the same activity yesterday and the day before. This works great when our forgetter is working overtime.

13 Dec:  Another stellar day; Wow !  Ron arose at 5:30 to work on James Lea and his cohorts James Lea and James Lea and included Capt. William, several Williams, a Will or two, and innumerable Wms.  How incredible that all the YDNA for these Caswell County Leas indicate a VERY close kinship; once we have a LARGE number of participants, we should be able to tease out familial groupings.  Ron again spent the afternoon clipping branches to drag the yard waste to the dump on Sunday.  Mary Lou was quite thankful to receive a bag of pine "straw" for mulching her ornamental beds.

12 Dec:  A stellar day, we woke up.  First things first, breakfast, then we arrived right ON time to walk with Jim, Steve, Dick.  Ron showed the guys evidence of his tree trimming progress in Greg and Donna's yard.   We had a pleasant, warm four mile walk, followed by another walk for lunch - two+ miles round trip to Ruby Tuesday's.   Computer stuff will fill Cynthia's day; Ron is off to remove unwanted growth from Greg's yard.  The night promises to be exciting (and was) since dinner is planned at Ruby Tuesday's with Clark and Elizabeth, Dick, Mary and Vince, Cheryl and Tom.  The second round trip to Ruby Tuesday's walking brought our total mileage to 8 today.   Cynthia's Health app on the IPhone 6 syncs with "My Fitness Pal" to record mileage, calories burned and nutrition, too.  8 miles earned 313 extra calories.  Cynthia showed all this on her IPhone to Cheryl and to Clark (his watch does similar things).  Christmas is approaching like a speeding bullet.  (Ron is oblivious.)

11 Dec:.  Ron walked with the guys while Cynthia worked out in the fitness center.  But we walked to Ruby Tuesdays for lunch and were charmed by the delightful, lovely Russian waitress.  Ron again attacked overgrown plant life in Greg's yard.  In Minnesnowda, a friend described Advent life with his Norwegian-Swedish wife: the Swedish half got satisfied by going to the Gustav Adolphus Santa Lucia Ceremony.  The weekend before the Norwegian half got satisfied by going to a St, Olaf Concert so awesome they did not get home until ten PM.  This weekend is the Lutefisk and lefse supper in the Lutheran Church basement.  The excitement in the air is electrifying (or maybe the threat of lutefisk is paralyzing).

10 Dec. Another great day, sunshine, fun time on our walk. We searched for the sunglasses in the Porta Potty, nada.  Then Cynthia noticeD her cell phone missing.  Pooh, boy.  The cell phone was not far away.   Returning to Gregs Ron noticed one of Cynthia's mittens missing so he got on the motorcycle to retrace our steps and found the mitten.  Such excitement.  We walked to Ruby Tuesdays... And the manager asked if we lost a pair of sunglasses!  There is a God!!!

9 Dec, Tues:  7:24 AM ????? Goodness!  We had six minutes to boogie to breakfast.  Dick was patiently waiting for us downstairs.  We walked 3.84 miles.  Ron brought Cynthia back to the hotel so we could do our computer stuffs before venturing forth to Ruby Tuesday's for lunch racking up another two miles.  The Health app on the iPhone 6 is terrific.  Ron cut down trees at the Gowdy's, visited Mary Lou for the better part of an hour.  She is having eyesight and hearing loss.  That is mighty tough for someone who was the chauffeur for the handicapped in her neighborhood and church. Cynthia misplaced her sunglasses.  Maybe she should post a sign in the porta potty with her phone number????

8 Dec:  MONDAY - RON, remembered: to ship Dorothy's OS/2 machine.!! (And pick up Greg's new HSN computer from UPS at 1782 Dunbar Road, West Columbia, but he forgot to remember to bring the UPS slips so he had to return to the hotel and caught Cynthia red-faced on the hotel treadmill machine with a clean room, too);  now he is off to visit Susan at the Lizard's Thicket in Oak Grove , and spend the day at the Caroliniana).  By 6 PM we were ensconced at Bone Fish Grill Restaurant near Harbison Mall in Columbia, SC; this night, after a phone call to the nutritionist this AM, they had food we could eat.  We ordered two entrees instead of splitting one because their portions are so small. It was delightful to see Tom and Cheryl; we had a fun time discussing DNA!  Imagine that!  By the time we departed it was raining.  Ron was happy he did not have to wear a helmet.

6 Dec:  dawned at a more usual hour for us; 8 AM for Cynthia, and 5 AM for her Smooch.  Little Smoochie moved from the door handle to a new perch on the shower faucet, ever hopeful for water in the frog pond bathtub.  James Lea, James Lea and James Lea are continuing to develop more substance and more potent citations, thanks to the millions of pictures we took in Raleigh last month.  98-year-old cousin Dorothy says to ship the OS/2 Thinkpad to her; we can fix it to satisfy her in January.  When asked, Dick volunteered to drive Ron to the AMROC train Christmas open house downtown.  (If the Caroliniana had been open later than 1 PM Ron would have gotten wet riding the motorcycle into town.)  It was fun to watch the trains run and to chat with the AMROC members.  After the return to Irmo in light rain, we were EXTREMELY surprised to learn that Susan has flown the coop and is now working at the new Lizard's in Oak Grove.  Hmm, I have now added links to the Caroliniana catalog and to the SC Archives catalog, and inserted a wedding photo on the RSBeatty website.

5 Dec, Fri: "For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move." -- Robert Louis Stevenson 
Another 7:30 breakfast with Dick & 9 AM walk with Dick & Steve.  Much fun.  Ron rode the bike to Kroger looking for fat free bread and stopped just before dark to visit Mary Lou (who calls Ron "Wild Man").  Her eyesight is rapidly failing, and the lifestyle transition is a major stress and disappointment.  Mary Lou hates to ask people to give her rides, etc, and unfortunately, very few people think to ask her if she wants to go.  Ron remembered to retool watermarks and protection for a Rambo "package" to be sold on the Swedish Colonial Society web site; too bad he didn't remember to set "fast web view."

Steve, Dick and Smooch turning the blue air between them
4th Dec., Thurs:  Cynthia planned to do the laundry on Thursday until she realized today IS Thursday!   Dick joined us for breakfast; we joined Dick, Steve and Jim for a walk at 9:00.  Those guys are really prompt.  If you are late, too bad, you will have to run to catch them.  Cynthia is wildly excited that the signature of James Lea of Cobb's Creek is deemed authentic by the historians!  Ron was pleased that he was able to extract the OS/2 Warp Thinkpad from under piles of possessions without excessive stress and strain and even more pleased that the computer worked flawlessly.

3th of Dec, Wed:  Hilton Garden Inn, Irmo, SC (Columbia Annex).  Yikes.  We were up early two days in a row and managed to meet Dick R. for a four mile walk by 9 AM.  Plans are to stay ensconced here with daily walks, writing projects, celebrations with SC friends before trekking to Asheville, NC for Christmas.

Morning Has Broken
View (landward) of marsh from elevator
View to the east from Shell Island Resort 
Wrightsville Beach, NC High Noon
2th of Dec, Tues: A Picture Paints a Thousand Words, so someone famous said once upon a time (apparently a modern time).  We enjoyed the Shell Island Resort!  Sun rise and beach views were awesome.  After our delayed departure and late arrival yesterday, we packed early in preparation for the ride to Columbia, SC.  (Cynthia used the phrase "meager possessions."  Ron is happy that the load is slightly less since recycling is recycled and unneeded items were mailed to Texas.)  The four hour ride took five hours because we enjoyed a timely stop for lunch at Ruby Tuesday's in Florence, SC.

1th of Dec, Mon: Happy December!! Ho Ho Ho is merrily packing while thinking up a Decemberry title for the blog.  The bike was loaded by noon thirty, but we were hungry, so we stopped for lunch at the Black Pelican.   The sunny warm day made the ride to Wrightsville Beach, NC ever so pleasant, although the late start delayed our arrival until dark.  The Shell Island Resort is unique with marvelous views of the Atlantic Ocean from our living room.  Their elevator has a glass window wall overlooking the bay; fascinating to watch the horizon grow as the elevator rises.